We all watched in amazement as G2 Esports wrote their names into the history books in Rotterdam, speed-running the final against Origen to become the first ever LEC Spring Split champions. The team now has an international trophy under their belts too, following on from their victory at the Mid-Season Invitational – but still there’s plenty of action to come with the Summer Split.
To get ready, we’ve had four of our casters name the match-ups they’re most excited for during the opening of the Split – with an unpredictable season ahead of us, they’ve opted to peek at the games slated to start in the first three weeks, as after all, the league’s most hyped teams could quickly change!
Medic: Misfits vs. Fnatic, Week 1, Day 2
Aaron “Medic” Chamberlain has opted for Misfits vs. Fnatic, a game between two teams who didn’t live up to expectations in the Spring Split. Misfits had their eyes on the title after creating a super-team but were unable to even make Playoffs. Meanwhile, Fnatic came into the LEC as Worlds finalists but they had to settle for third place in Europe.
Both teams appear to have identified the jungle role as an area of potential improvement, bringing in new players to add competition. Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian struggled to find consistency during Spring and will now have to hold off any challenge from Thomas “Kurei” Yuen who joined Misfits Premier after impressing at the MSI Play-ins with 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports. As for Fnatic, the organisation has promoted Fnatic Rising’s Dan “Dan” Hockley to the main roster, who will now share the jungle role with Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen – we’ll soon see if this has an effect on the team’s play.
Medic is hoping both teams will reach their potential, but he’s also prepared for the worst: “With all of the rumours that have been spread during the offseason, I'm intrigued to see how Fnatic come into a Summer Split when anything other than a top-two finish would be a disappointment. Misfits as a team looked underwhelming at best during Spring and then didn't make any roster changes for Summer. I'm hoping for the best, but ready for a catastrophe.”
Froskurinn: Splyce vs. Vitality, Week 1, Day 1
As for Indiana “Froskurinn” Black, she’s excited for a match between polar opposites. Team Vitality like to embrace the chaos, as their players will fight at any given opportunity, and then there’s those who like to be patient.
Having upset Gen.G and Royal Never Give Up at Worlds last year, there were high hopes for Vitality during the Spring Split. The team looked like they would meet those expectations, battling Schalke for second-place for the majority of Spring, however, Vitality couldn’t find consistency and a poor end to the regular season saw them drop down to fifth.
Meanwhile, Splyce continued to wait for the late game – both in and out of game. The team really found its feet in the second half of the Split and marked themselves as one of the strongest in the LEC thanks to Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup’s heroics in team fights.
Both teams were eventually eliminated in the Playoffs by Fnatic, but Froskurinn believes this could still be a blockbuster match: “I think Splyce vs. Vitality is interesting because these are two teams seeking podium placements with completely different ways of playing the game. In this match-up, it feels like watching the Tortoise and the Hare but the hare has a flamethrower and the tortoise has Kobbe.”
Vedius: Excel vs. Rogue, Week 1, Day 2
Andy “Vedius” Day has also opted for a Week 1 match-up, but he’s gone towards the bottom of the Spring standings for his choice. Moving into their second ever Split, both Excel and Rogue have made plenty of changes in hopes of changing their fortunes this Summer.
Excel will finally have the full use of their headquarters in Twickenham stadium along with new signings Petter "Hjarnan" Freyschuss and Young-Min "Mickey" Son. Meanwhile, Rogue have promoted its entire academy line-up with rookies Finn “Finn” Wiestal, Kacper “Inspired” Sloma and Emil “Larssen” Larsson to the main roster, as well as the Polish duo of Pawel “Woolite” Pruski and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan.
Vedius is excited to see what a fresh start brings both teams: “This is hype because Rogue have revamped their roster and Excel have also tweaked. Last Split this was a bottom of the barrel matchup, and this time around with changes, it's a chance to start anew and build up hope for a stronger Summer Split.”
Quickshot: G2 Esports vs. Fnatic, Week 3, Day 1
Finishing off this list, we have Trevor “Quickshot” Henry who has opted for the game between Europe’s most prestigious teams: G2 vs. Fnatic.
Fnatic still hold the record for European titles, but G2 are not far behind, and as the current MSI champions, it doesn’t look like anyone will be able to stop the samurai. Although, Fnatic did beat G2 the last time these teams met, following a breathtaking base race in Week 9 of the Spring Split.
Quickshot thinks Fnatic could return to old form and make this a match to remember: “After two weeks of seeing teams compete on the Rift we will have our first taste of the heavyweights of European League competing. Neither team has made roster changes and neither team wants to concede losses early in the Split, but all the expectation is on G2. I wonder if the weight of the international crown will weigh them down, or fuel them to crush the former kings of Europe, Fnatic.”